January 30, 2013

Almost Guilt Free Cake Batter Dip

Of course I found this recipe on Pinterest, and the title of the pin {Skinny Cake Batter Dip} immediately caught my eye.  I love a treat that doesn't make me feel guilty for consuming extra calories and fat, but then, in truth that has never stopped me from eating up all the goodness.  This recipe excited me because I could see real possibilities with it, and HELLO~3 ingredients!
ALMOST GUILT FREE CAKE BATTER DIP
1 box (10.5 oz.) Funfetti Cake mix
2 c. fat free vanilla yogurt
1 c fat free frozen whipped topping, thawed
Graham Crackers, Nilla Wafers for dipping
(just pick whatever you like most!)

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and yogurt.  Use an electric mixer to combine well.  Add in the thawed whipped topping, mix until everything is well incorporated.  Cover and chill for 2 or more hours.

That's it!  Serve with your choice of dipping items.

Note:  as this dip sat out, the little 'confetti' pieces in the cake mix started to "melt". Each time it was stirred, the colors seemed to streak through the dip.  I think kids would be over~the~moon happy with this dip! 



I served this dip at a Bunco game night with all my fun girlfriends to see what their opinions would be.  It was a thumbs up. It's addicting.  The more you eat, the more you seem to want (notice the Scooby Treats we used as our dippers, there were no graham cracker sticks at the store that day but it made for great commenting and laughter!).

I used a recipe calculator to figure the basic nutritional information for the recipe:
If you would like to check out the recipe calculator, you can find the link here: SPARKPEOPLE.COM

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 30
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 70.2
  • Total Fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.5 mg
  • Sodium: 103.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 13.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 1.2 g

The serving size was calculated at 4-5 Tbsp.
Think of the fun possibilities with this recipe-simply mix it up by using other cake mix flavors.  How about spice cake with gingersnap dippers?  Chocolate fudge cake with Nilla wafer cookies?  Strawberry cake mix with graham crackers?  Oh the idea's people will come up with...
Recipe source: The Pursuit of Happiness Blog


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January 24, 2013

Crock-pot Creamy Chicken Taco Soup

As I promised, this is a delicious soup that will use up any left over chicken mix that you made using my recipe for  Crock-pot Creamy Chicken Taco's and Nachos.
It's incredibly easy to make and uses common pantry staples.
You'll be in love with this soup, it's so easy to adapt to your family's particular likes.


Crock-pot Creamy Chicken Taco Soup
3-4 c. chicken broth
2 c. left over Creamy chicken Taco meat
1-2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
1 (14 oz.) cans black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, cubed, at room temp.
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

Suggested garnishes:
diced tomatoes
diced avocado
sour cream
additional shredded cheese
Dorito's style tortilla chips, lightly crushed

In a 5 qt. slow cooker, pour in the broth, add the chicken mix and stir until the chicken has distributed throughout the broth.
Stir in the taco seasoning and canned beans.
Cover and cook on HIGH 3 hours, or on LOW for 5 hours.
Place the softened cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the cream cheese is very soft and almost liquid-ey (I know that's not a word, but I like it).
Stir in the cream cheese and 1 c. shredded cheese into the soup, cover and continue to cook about 1 additional hour.
When ready to serve, garnish with all of your favorite toppings! 

This recipe is pretty flexible.  You can add more canned beans, corn, canned tomatoes or whatever you think sounds good.  
The quantity for the broth is simply a guideline measurement.  Adding more will make the soup more broth like, less will make a thicker dish. 
On the taco seasoning, simply use these measurements as a guideline for your family's personal tastes.

Helpful hint: a taco seasoning packet generally has around 6 Tbsp. seasoning mix in it.


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January 17, 2013

Crock-pot Creamy Chicken Taco's and Nacho's

Heaven bless Jamie @ Jamie Cooks it Up!  I love her blog and have tried many of her recipes.  However, this may be my favorite one yet!
It's easy to throw together, delicious,and just perfect!
I actually found this recipe via Pinterest, but when I saw it was from Jamie, I knew I would try it immediately.  I've made this dish several times now, my family are big fans! We've used it for taco's, nacho's and a yummy taco soup (I will post this recipe in the coming weeks, it's a great way to use up any left over taco filling).  I'm also going to try using it as a filling for enchilada's.
Creamy Chicken Taco's

5 FROZEN boneless chicken breast
1 1/2 c. salsa (mild or medium)
2 (10.75 oz.) can's condensed cream of chicken soup
2 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
1 Tbsp. maple syrup 
(pure syrup is best, but regular works too)
1 tsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. sour cream 

Line the inside of your crock-pot with a liner or spray with non-stick spray.  Place the frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock.
In a medium size mixing bowl combine the salsa, soup, taco seasoning, maple syrup and lime juice. Mix well.
Pour over the chicken breasts.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours, or on HIGH for 4 hours.
At the end of the cooking time, shred the chicken between two forks, then stir in the sour cream and butter. Cover and cook for 1 more hour.
Serve in soft or hard shell tacos, over tortilla chips or use in taco salads. Be sure and include all of your favorite toppings.




*This recipe makes a large batch. For a family of 4, it is enough for 2 complete meals.
Recipe source: Jamie's crock-pot creamy chicken taco's


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January 14, 2013

5 ingredient Crock-pot chicken & Stuffing

I love a recipe that takes about 5 minutes to prepare, cooks in the Crock-pot, and is ready and waiting by dinner time.  then the fact that this recipe only has 5 ingredients is SUPERB, and then the extra awesome thing about this dish is the cooking time-in the crock-pot, READY IN 4 HOURS!

I discovered this recipe on Pinterest (where all good recipes have been coming from the last few months).  The original post can be found at The Pursuit of Happiness Blog, also known as teamtadventures.blogspot.com which is cool, because Lisa has an alias.

This is a great recipe for all busy households, and pretty dang economical too.
5 INGREDIENT CROCK-POT CHICKEN & STUFFING

4 fresh or frozen (thawed) chicken breasts
1 (6 oz.) box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix, unprepared
1/2 c. sour cream
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. water

In a medium size mixing bowl combine the sour cream, soup and water.  Mix well.
Place the chicken breasts side by side in the bottom of the crock-pot.  Season the chicken breasts with pepper & garlic powder. 
Spread the box of stuffing mix over the chicken breasts, then pour the soup mix over the top.


Cook on LOW for 4 hours*.
*Check your chicken with an instant read thermometer, it should read 165 degrees or higher -the short cooking time is a bit unusual for a main dish meal cooked on low*

That's it! 
One of the added bonuses of this recipe dish is the shorter cooking time.  If you've ever forgotten to prepare and start your crock-pot dish, you will appreciate this recipe. You will still have time to make it when you realize you remember! LOL~

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January 12, 2013

Crock-pot Cooking Conversion Table's and other things you need to know

Do you have recipes that you wish you could prepare in your crock-pot?  I do, and I've always wondered how to convert them to the slow cooker method.
After I did a little research through Google (not much really), I found some really helpful tips, information and conversion table guidelines!!!
I'm super excited now, and I will be re-making family favorites, crock-pot style~and I will post the recipe(s) along with the results from changing them over to slow cooking method.
{I have 5 crock-pot's, but this model is my favorite}
Oven to Crockpot Conversion General Information

It's difficult to give exact conversion information on translating traditional oven recipes to the crock-pot. Below you will find some general guidelines for converting your favorite recipes to the crock-pot. Since crock-pots vary, you should consult your owner's manual for instructions.

• Crockpots may vary but generally, the LOW setting is about 200 degrees F. and the HIGH setting is about 300 degrees F. One hour on HIGH is approximately equal to 2 to 2-1/2 hours on LOW. Most crockpot recipes recommend cooking 8-10 hours on LOW. Some recipes recommend the HIGH setting based on the nature and texture of the food. You will have to judge your recipe accordingly. For example, beef cuts will be better cooked on LOW for 8-10 hours to get a more tender texture, where chicken can be cooked on HIGH 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

• Reduce the amount of liquid used in most oven recipes when using the LOW setting, since the crockpot retains all moisture that usually evaporates when cooking in the oven. Add liquids for sauces about an hour before done. You will normally end up with more liquid at the end of cooking times, not less. A general rule is to reduce liquids by half, unless rice or pasta is in the dish.

• Spices may need to be reduced or increased. Whole herbs and spices increase their flavoring power in crockpot cooking while ground spices may have lost some flavor. Add ground spices during the last hour of cooking. Whole leaf and herbs will probably need to be reduced by half.

• Rice, noodles, macaroni, seafood, Chinese vegetables and milk do not hold up well when cooked 8-10 hours. Add these to sauces or liquid about 2 hours before serving when using LOW setting (or 1 hour on HIGH). If you want to use milk in an 8-10 hour recipe, use evaporated milk.

• Browning meats before cooking is a personal choice. It is not necessary but it will reduce the fat content of some meats and increase eye appeal if you brown it before cooking.

• Sautéing vegetables (like onions, etc) is not necessary, (except for eggplant which should be parboiled or sautéed prior due to its strong flavor). Just add them to the pot with everything else. You may wish to reduce quantities of stronger vegetables since they will permeate the other foods in the crockpot with their full flavor.

• Dry beans can be cooked overnight on LOW as an alternative to soaking. Cover with water and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Drain and combine with other ingredients. Be sure beans are softened before adding to any sugar or tomato mixture.

• For best results, use long-grain parboiled/converted raw rice in recipes, and use standard liquid amounts instead of reducing the liquid. For mixed recipes requiring pasta, it's best to cook the pasta separately to al dente texture and add just before serving.

• For soups, add water only to cover ingredients. If thinner soup is desired, more liquid can be added at the end of the cooking time.



The following charts assume a normal oven baking temperature of 350- to 375 F.


General Oven to Crockpot Cooking Time Conversions
OvenCrockpot
15 to 30 minutes1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours on HIGH
or 4 to 6 hours on LOW
35 to 45 minutes2 to 3 hours on HIGH
or 6 to 8 hours on LOW
50 minutes to 3 hours4 to 5 hours on HIGH
or 8 to 18 hours on LOW
Note: Most uncooked meat and vegetable combinations will require at least 8 hours on LOW.


General Crockpot Cooking Times for Specific Foods
Pot Roast8-12 hours on LOW
or 4 to 5 hours on HIGH
Stew10 to 12 hours on LOW
or 4 to 5 hours on HIGH
Ribs6 to 8 hours on LOW
Stuffed Peppers6 to 8 hours on LOW
or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH
Brisket10 to 12 hours on LOW
Swiss Steak8 to 10 hours on LOW
Corned Beef & Cabbage6 to 10 hours on LOW
or 4 to 5 hours on HIGH
Casserole4 to 9 hours on LOW
or 2 to 4 hours on HIGH
(stirring occasionally)
Rice5 to 9 hours on LOW
or 2 to 3 hours on HIGH
Meat Loaf8 to 9 hours on LOW
Dry Beans1 to 2 hours on HIGH
plus 8 to 9 hours on LOW
Soup6 to 12 hours on LOW
or 2-6 hours on HIGH
Chicken7 to 10 hours on LOW
or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH
Vegetables2 to 4 hours on LOW
with liquid added
Baked Potato8 to 10 hours on LOW
Artichoke6 to 8 hours on LOW
or 2-1/2 to 4 hours on high
(with water)
Note: Remember to check the owner's manual for your particular crockpot for full instructions on usage. The above cooking times are only VERY general guidelines.

Information from:  About.com


And from KraftFoods.com come these awesome tips and tricks that will help make your crockin' a rockin' experience {it's awesome when I rhyme}.


Slow-Cooker Tips & Tricks

Master the mystery of this appliance.

  • Don't fill it up. Your slow cooker should be one-half to two-thirds full. If it's too full, it will take too long to start simmering. If it's not full enough, you risk overcooking.
  • Keep it thrifty. This long, moist cooking method is ideal for inexpensive cuts of meat, since it provides plenty of time for tenderizing.
  • Leave it alone. Don't lift the lid, unless you want to extend the cooking time by 20 min. To check the progress, spin the lid until the condensation falls off. If the recipe gives you reason to lift the lid, replace it quickly.
  • Customize it. If you want to thicken the juices or concentrate flavors, remove the lid and cook on HIGH for the last 30 min.
  • Stick to the cooking time. Slow cookers work by simmering food at a low, even temperature, so adhere to the recipe.

Want to print and keep this information close by?
Click here for the free printable charts & information


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January 7, 2013

January is Slow Cooker Month!

JANUARY IS FOR CELEBRATING CROCK-POT COOKING!

I love the idea of celebrating slow cooker's (I still call them crock-pot's, I'm from THAT generation) all month long.
So far I've used my crock-pot 3 times this month, and today is January 6th...
I've been wondering for quite a while what the correct spelling for the term crockpot, and it turns out I've been mis-spelling it forever according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the correct spelling is Crock-pot (with the hyphen).  Sheeesh.  Another new thing to remember... 

With all of that rambling being said, I wanted to create a post linking back to  some of my personal favorite crock-pot recipes, as well as other popular recipes found via my Crock-pot Crazy Pinterest Board.
You will definitely want to create a link to this post, you'll want to come back often!
(This is our family favorite!)


(from our blog)

(from our blog)



Six Sisters' Stuff~ Crock-pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken


Paula Deen's~ Crock-pot Macaroni and Cheese


Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen's~ Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

Better Home's and Garden's~ Creamy Tortellini SoupCreamy Tortellini Soup

The Little Kitchen's~ French Onion Pot Roast

Bubble Crumb's~ Rootbeer Pulled Pork

Creating Through Life's~ Crock-pot Lasagna

Family Fresh Meals'~ Slow cooker Scalloped PotatoesThese Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes are a MUST try!

Plain Chicken's~ Slow cooker Ham and White Beans

Six Sister's Stuff~ Parmesan Honey Pork Roast



Inspired Housewife's~ Gluten Free Bread in the Crock-potCrock Pot Bread

Crockpot Ladies'~ Carrot Cake w/Cream Cheese FrostingCrock-Pot Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Six Sister's Stuff~ Crock-pot Apple Cobbler

Life As A Lofthouse's~ Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake

Plain Chicken's~ Crock-pot Creme Brulee French Toast

The Gingerbread Blog's~ Sugared Pecans